What with the raging "war on women" and all, it's now open season on "worrisome" large families, with their "smug fecundity" and sinisterly "archaic" "patriarchs." So writes Lisa Miller in the Washington Post's On Faith column:
Between them, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have as many children — 12 — as there were tribes of Israel. Ron Paul has five of his own, and in an early debate, perhaps unwilling to be outdone by Michele Bachmann’s fostering of dozens, Paul boasted that when he worked as a physician he delivered “4,000 babies.”The message is so subliminal I still can't see it. What, pray tell, is wrong with normal paternal pride and joy in one's children?
There’s nothing wrong with big families, of course. But the smug fecundity of the Republican field this primary season has me worried. Their family photos, with members of their respective broods spilling out to the margins, seem to convey a subliminal message that goes far beyond a father’s pride in being able to field his own basketball team.
Now, dear reader, brace yourself for a gigantic leap:
What the Republican front-runners seem to be saying is this: We are like the biblical patriarchs. As conservative religious believers, we take seriously the biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply.Not scared yet? There's more!
Especially worrisome is the inevitable corollary to that belief: Women should put their natural fertility first — before their brains, before their ability to earn a living, before their independence — because that’s what God wants.So if that's what your religion teaches, it's wrong. Thanks for the heads up, Lisa!
Smaller families allow everyone in the family to be healthier and better educated. Healthy, well-educated people live longer and are more prosperous than those who are not. In the poorest parts of the developing world, the average woman has six children; in the richest parts, that average woman has three. This is the reality, Mitt Romney the outlier. As a man who earns $20 million a year, he can afford to have as many children as he can manage to conceive.So much for embracing diversity. You'd think, since Miller is writing a column on religion, that she'd bother to take a peak at the religious reasons behind those Catholic and Mormon large families. But there's none of that. Instead, those of us who don't march in lockstep with the contraceptive culture are condemned for being a minority. Gotta love that liberal tolerance.
I am the first person to say children are a miracle, a blessing, a gift from God. But I also thank God that I live in a time and place where I can get up every morning and go to work, and with the money I earn help feed and educate my child. I’m guessing that if you asked them, most American women, liberal or conservative, would vote with me.
"Strieff" at Redstate has a really great post about the column here.
See also the great James Taranto: The War on Fertility
But in any case, why does it so bother Miller that the Romneys, Santorums and Pauls (and also the Palins, whom she mentions in another paragraph) made the choice to have large families? If she cared about choice, she would recognize it's none of her business. But contemporary feminism does not actually value choice, except as a means to an ideological end, which is the obliteration of differences between the sexes. The biggest such difference consists in the distinct and disparate demands that reproduction makes on women. Thus in order to equalize the sexes, it is necessary to discourage fertility. Implicit in contemporary feminism is a normative judgment that having children is bad.Read the rest.
If this were made explicit, of course, the whole project would fall apart. Feminism is politically unviable without the support of at least a substantial minority of women, and women (or at least most women) do have a maternal instinct. So feminism has to wage its war against fertility covertly, rationalizing it in terms of other goals.
Thanks to CMR for the link.
Thanks also to The Other McCain. Smitty to Lisa Miller:
Thou bimbo: if there is nothing wrong, why the worry? Because you’re making a cheap anxiety play, that’s why.RTR.
Thanks also to Don Surber, who asks, How many children are presidents allowed?
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